We’ve all heard it’s important for our health to exercise. Make that Very Important for our health. But for most people it seems doing regular exercise takes too much time and they don’t have enough time already for all the things they need to do every day so their regular exercise never gets going.
But… research has found that it doesn’t take much exercise to give you very real and significant benefits. Research has found that even a brief walk can reduce inflammation and result in measurable benefits to your health. In fact, research has found that even just walking around the block is enough to give your health a boost.
The University of California San Diego School of Medicine conducted a study that found as little as a 20-minute walk can result in instant anti-inflammatory benefits. It does that because even that brief a walk stimulates better functioning of the immune system and immune system functioning and results in anti-inflammation activity at the cellular level.1
And… walking doesn’t just activate the muscles in your legs, it also gets your brain and sympathetic nervous system involved… which causes a faster heartbeat while you’re up and moving around, a temporary elevation in blood pressure and the hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine to be released. Those hormones trigger adrenergic receptors in immune cells and when a 20-minute walk stimulates them, it results in a 5% reduction in the body’s production of TNF. TNF is an immune regulator that can result in inflammation.
Bottom line: walking limits the inflammation that leads to your own immune cells attacking your body’s own tissues. And as we’ve written before, inflammation is behind a host of diseases and health problems.
Inflammation is NOT always bad. Inflammation that only lasts for a short period of time that occurs to help the body heal from a wound or an infection, is obviously a good thing. We need to keep in mind that when the body needs healing, inflammation speeds repair and calls the immune cells into action. And if the body is exposed to and fighting off viruses or bacteria, inflammatory activity helps to wards off the attackers to prevent you from getting sick.
But when chronic inflammation happens — when immune cells become active when they aren’t needed, it leads to chronic health problems such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, and more… for instance, studies have also found that chronic inflammation is often involved in heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes, and even more.
Back to finding time for regular exercise. A study at Binghamton University in New York found you can significantly lower your risk of heart disease with a daily walk. But it doesn’t have to be a long walk, nor even every day, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves a bit…. here are the details..
In the Binghamton study, 70 women walked 150 minutes a week for 10 weeks – that breaks down to about 21 minutes a day. Mid-way through the study, the participants were challenged to increase their walking by about 10 percent, or about another 15 minutes a week – but they weren’t required to. After two-and-a-half months of those walks, they had reduced their risk for heart problems , and most of them lost some weight, their blood pressure was lower. and their cholesterol levels improved.
But here's the really good news... just walking two days a week made a difference. If you can't find time to walk every day, the study found that even walking just 2 days a week improved the person's health.
Here are those details: in a study that ran for 18 years and tracked the exercise habits and health of over 63,000 older adults, it was found that when people did their 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week in just two days — or did more strenuous exercise for 75 minutes on those two days – but did not have much physical activity on the other five days of the week — they still reduced their risk of dying during the nearly two decades the study ran. They significantly dropped their chances of getting cancer and/or heart problems.
That’s all it took… just two days of exercise a week, and very little exercise or physical activity otherwise. Now that you know as little as exercising 2 days a week can significantly raise your chances of better health, maybe you can find the time to do it. If not for you, for those who care about you.